CHEESECAKE — RICH AND CREAMY
(Serves 8 or more)
This recipe, originally from p. 466 of The Best Recipe by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, gives a detailed explanation of the cream cheese/sugar/egg/cream/sour-cream ratios and discusses the effect of changing each. The texture of the cake changes considerably as one adjusts the amounts, and these are the amounts I like. Make it a half dozen times in slightly different ways to see what you like. It also describes the difference between the various cooking processes. We first made it in 2005. All agreed that this was the best cheesecake ever. The water bath really makes a difference. 50 minutes for prep and clean-up.
“Crust” (more like a dusting) OR use a full crust
2 tsp Butter, melted
2 Tbs Vanilla Wafer or Graham Cracker crumbs — very fine. ~7 vanilla wafers.
32 oz Cream cheese at room temperature (“lite” cheese is NOT acceptable). 4 pkgs.
1¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup Heavy Cream or Whipping Cream (I use whipping cream)
¼ cup Sour Cream
2 tsp Vanilla extract
4 Eggs at room temperature
9″ Springform pan
2 sheets Aluminum foil (one extra wide and extra heavy).
Use an outer pan large enough to easily seat the 9” pan, like a Lobster Pot bottom or the pan you roast your turkey in.
Optional: strawberries, cherries or chocolate fudge sauce for the topping.
- A Springform is made of two pieces: the side (with the spring) and the round bottom. Line the bottom of the pan with foil and put the base back with the foil hanging outside the pan and coming UP the side of the pan. This is the second line of protection if the outer foil layer fails. Bring the 2nd heavy, wide foil up the side of the pan, and put on tightly so water doesn’t enter. See the picture. Set oven to 325 degrees.
- Brush the bottom and the sides with butter, and sprinkle the crumbs over the bottom. Tilt the pan in all directions to have the crumbs go up the sides. Pour out excess. Alternatively, you can also make a bread crust for the bottom. I prefer the dusting.
- Boil enough water for the water bath. About 4 cups should be sufficient, but check during cooking that it hasn’t boiled off.
- Beat the room temperature cream cheese until smooth, and then beat in the sugar for about 3 minutes on medium until fully incorporated.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping the side of the bowl after each one. Do not over beat. Add vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Add the cream and sour cream, and beat in at very low speed, until smooth.
- Pour mixture into the pan, and set into the larger pan. THEN pour in enough boiling water to go halfway up the side of the pan. DON’T go above the aluminum foil protection.
- Bake at 325 degrees for about 55-60 minutes until the perimeter of the cake is just slightly set and the center jiggles like jello.
- Turn off the heat and open the oven door slightly. Leave for 1 hour longer. Very carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath and set on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature. This takes another hour. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. If covered when warm, water will form on the cover and drip into the cheesecake!!
- Sometimes, I top this with sliced fresh strawberries, or a combination of strawberries and blueberries.
John says that it was his mother who inspired his love of cooking and baking at an early age. (She cooked vegetables in boil-able packages.)